Gauchos go back-to-back at OEC Finals

Gauchos go back-to-back at OEC Finals

The Saddleback women's cross country team defended its Orange Empire Conference championship with another win at the OEC Finals on Friday at Irvine Regional Park.  Sophomore Dana McGrath was the runaway winner to earn medalist honors.

Saddleback had been making up ground on Riverside City College all season long and finally tracked them down two weeks earlier at the Highlander Invitational, making for an interesting matchup at the OEC Finals on Friday.  The Gauchos did their thing, taking care of business and edging the Tigers to claim back-to-back conference titles.

Dana McGrath (below) has been a force all season long and had a dominating finish, crossing the finish line in 20:53.95 and winning by nearly 17 seconds.  McGrath was followed closely by four other Gauchos, who finished 1-4-5-7-10 as a team.

Cayla Porter finished in fourth place on Friday in covering the 5k trek in 21:19.12.  Right on her heels was Nayelli Hernandez, who finished in fifth place with a time of 21:23.14. 

With the first six harriers crossing the finish line being from either Saddleback or Riverside, it was going to be critical that the Gauchos have a couple of more finishers cross the finish line before two runners from RCC.  Saddleback's Alexis Park and Holly Morales did just that, finishing seventh and 10th, respectively, as the Gauchos edged the Tigers, 27-31.  Park finished the race in 21:35.64 while Morales finished in 21:51.13. 

All five runners were named to the All-Orange Empire Conference Team following the meet as a result of finishing in the top-14.

Saddleback will take its OEC title to the Southern California Regional Finals in San Diego next Friday.